Művelődési és Közoktatási Minisztérium, az Ábécéskönyv Kiadó Kft. és a
tanítok angol nyelvet a számítógép segítségével az általános iskolában?
Tanulmány a Művelôdési és Közoktatási Minisztérium Sulinet Programiroda, az Ábécéskönyv Kiadó Kft. és a Profi-Média Kft. által hirdetett pályázatra
This essay shows how I used PICDIC (Picture Dictionary) CD-ROM during some English lessons in the sixth form of a village primary school. Following the description of the CD-ROM and that of the students you can find some of my ideas about using this multimedia programme and about my experience .
PICDIC (Picture Dictionary) - a review
This CD-ROM was compiled by Borbála Szendrő, the author of the book I love words . She is a professor of the English Department at the University of Economics,Budapest. The CD-ROM was published by Profi-Média Kft., Baja. PICDIC has 83 topics with 5000 words and 200 colour pictures. The topics are taken from everyday life (e.g.: the house,the city, animals, sports, numbers, etc.). After choosing a topic you can see a picture. If you click on an object you can read what it is and hear how it is pronounced. You can choose between Hungarian and English titles, and the topics can be read in alphabetical order as well. If you need a word, type it either in English or in Hungarian and you can easily find its meaning with pictures and words or phrases connected with it. So you can read several occurrences of the word. In Setup button we can choose English and/or Hungarian words, phrases to be written, British and/or American voices, pronouncing them (the phonetic transcriptions). This programme also indicates the irregular plural forms of the nouns. You can write your own remarks to the topics and the programme will save them if you want.
There are three entertaining educational games, which can be played alone or in pairs. In Drag and Drop there is a list of scrambled words next to a picture. The student has to drag the sign near the object in the picture and drop it on the correct word on the list. If he/she matches the picture with the right word the computer pronounces it, if he/she misses it a voice says: wrong. In Puzzle the computer asks the English or Hungarian meanings of the words. If the student type in the correct answers he/she can see the picture. In Where is it? the student has to click on the object pronounced by the computer. If he/she misses it, after the third attempt the computer writes the word on the screen, and after the forth one it shows the correct answer. These games gradually become more difficult. Drag and Drop is the easiest game and Where is it? is the most difficult one.
Students can compete in these games, the computer writes the results of the first ten competitors.
If the teacher wants to use the pictures during the lessons he/she can copy them on the clipboard and print them.
I think this multimedia version of the dictionary improves students’ written and spoken English in an entertaining way.
Our school is a primary school in a village near Budapest. My students with whom I used PICDIC are in the sixth form. There are 18 students in my group, they come from two forms. They started to learn English in the forth form (at the age of nine). They had two lessons a week in the forth form and three lessons a week in the fifth and sixth forms. The level of their knowledge is quite poor. There are two groups of students learning English in the sixth form based on the level of their knowledge. My group is the weaker one, only four or five students are relatively good at English. Most of my students have moderate abilities and there are two or three students below the average. Their parents usually cannot help them, and they do not have private teachers either. But there are five students who have computers at home - one of them has access to Internet too -, and I find that they know more words or they often ask me about the meanings of English words that we have not learnt together. As far as I am concerned I have taught English for twelve years.
In our school there is a computer lab with 15 Pentium 100 computers. We have been able to use CD-ROMs only since May of 1998. Our students have computer lessons once a week from the fifth form. So all my students can use a computer, half of them have already played CD-ROM games, but they have never used any language learning multimedia programmes.
My students have learnt English from Chatterbox (Oxford University Press). In the sixth form we use Chatterbox 3. I decided to complete the book with PICDIC because I wanted to make the lessons more interesting and I hoped that my students’ knowledge of English would improve. My other aim was to arouse the children’s interest in the language learning multimedia programmes to use them at home on their own.
PICDIC is a very useful supplementary material, because the teacher can choose any topic to practise or complete the lessons of the book. We do not need to study everything from the beginning to the end of the CD-ROM, we can pick out any topic and picture which is the most appropriate for the syllabus. It is impossible to use the computer lab regularly in our school, because there are a lot of groups for one laboratory, and the teacher of the computer science keeps an eye on it all the time. English groups only sometimes can be let in. I think the situation is the same in most schools in Hungary nowadays. PICDIC is the right multimedia programme for using on occasion.
Language focus: City
( In the classroom. Means used during the lesson: Chatterbox - Pupil’s Book 3, Activity Book 3, Teacher’s Book 3, a cassette recorder, a board )
(In the computer room. Means used during the lesson: PICDIC CD-ROM, a board)
Students write the correct words next to them ( tower block, áruház, housing estate, lakás ) and copy them in their exercise books. Teacher: ‘Click on the rest of the words and find the meanings of the next ones.’
Students click on the objects, repeat the words and write them in their exercise books ( tram/streetcar, emeletes busz, stop sign, taxiállomás, bicyclist). 15 minutes
The teacher asks questions about the picture: ‘Where is the bus? What is the couple doing? What colour is the tram?’ Students answer. Pair work: Students ask and answer questions about the picture. The teacher walks around and helps them. 5 minutes
Students write true
or false sentences about the picture using the new words.
(In the computer room. Means used during the lesson: PICDIC CD-ROM, a board)
Students open the topic In the city. The teacher writes the English words on the board, students have to find the American equivalents of them.
Students play the Puzzle game. First they scramble the squares of the picture, then they start to give the English or Hungarian meanings of the words asked by the computer. They do not have the same words on the screen at the same time, but they can compete in pairs if they want to. 7 minutes
Students do the Where is it? game. The task is to find the object in the picture after the student heard the word pronounced by the computer. They practise for a while, then they compete: who can finish the game faster. 10 minutes
Students collect as many city words in English as they can . They have two minutes to write them in their exercise books. Who has the most correct words is the winner. 4 minutes
Students get a gap-filling
exercise about the city. They have to write in the missing words on their
Answers: 1. two, 2. trams, 3. double-decker, 4. stop, 5. next to/near, 6. tower block, 7. café, 8. stop sign, 9. bicyclist, 10. taxi rank/stand. 5 minutes Homework Students have to know all the words they learnt during the lessons. They can write some other anagrams. The
I had grave doubts about the language of instructions in the computer room. Which language is better to use? Shall I give the instructions in English or in Hungarian? Finally when I told something to the whole class I used English. E.g.: ‘Open the topic window. Click on the picture, word. Work in pairs.’ etc. But I explained the rules of the games in Hungarian when I saw that most of the students had not understood them in English. When I helped separate students, I also used Hungarian. There are English words on the buttons of the programme, but you can read the instructions and the rules in Hungarian. It is good for the children, because they can understand everything easily.
The students spent more time playing the games not only because they enjoyed them, but also because of the structure of the games. If they did not know a word in the Drag and Drop or in the Puzzle games the programme did not show the correct answer. So they had to go back to the main picture and find the appropriate word. Sometimes it took several minutes to go back to the picture then to the game again. But it was a good practice for them, and in the end they remembered the word. In the Puzzle game children did not like that the programme did not accept the synonyms of the Hungarian words. This is the defectiveness of this multimedia programme. The students had to remember and write the same Hungarian meaning that was given in the main picture.
We had a little problem with the number of the students and the computers. There are 18 students in my group and we only have 15 computers in our lab, so six students had to work in pairs at three computers. These students had to work together all the time. When the others could do something alone, these children had less time to work on their own.
All in all, students enjoyed learning English with this multimedia programme very much. They would like to spend more time playing the games or looking for other interesting topics and words. After all I find that students have learnt a lot of words about the city and their pronunciation has become better. I hope that they will remember these words at the beginning of the next school year too. I am looking forward to meeting and asking them in September, and using PICDIC again with more and more students.